Ok, for the record, as a baker by trade, I've got more to say about baking cherry pies than racing for them, but I guess I can still share a few thoughts. Besides, Mark, you're killing me with guilt so here it is.
As you know, Russ, Jim and I carpooled together on Sunday (2/8) to the Cherry Pie Criterium up in Napa. I was not feeling well, still suffering from badly congested lungs - not good for bicycle racing obviously. However, my goals were very different from my two team mates, both who I knew were quite capable of turning in very high results in a rather elite group of racers. Jim turned in an outstanding performance in the 55+ coming in 4th place. He rode so aggressively! Russ was a powerhouse at the front of the pack, riding just where he wanted to be about 6-10 slots back. I couldn't believe my eyes as I rounded the hairpin at the top of the climb and saw him go down with I believe just 3 laps to go. Bummer! He was setting up for an excellant result, but hey, this season's just getting started. He'll be back.
My goal was to keep to the top 3rd of the pack at all times which I seemed to have accomplished. I managed to keep Jim just in front of me for nearly most of the bike race. Actually, in reflecting back, I think I could have done much better than that. For me, riding criteriums presents the challenge of holding a forward position at all times. In a course such as Cherry Pie where there are lots of twists and turns, jocking for position becomes aggressive and needs to be done constantly. It was 17 laps at roughly 2:30 per lap, so the mix is changing at every turn. Getting bumped is routine, and a controled aggressive attitude is required to hold ground and move forward. My 2 team mates have this dialed in, and it was terrific having the opportunity to seeing them in action. Learned alot and I've got more practice to do, and that's why I signed up. Definitely coming back for this one next year. Way too much fun.